There are extraordinary entrepreneurs who can take a business from startup to a stand-alone company listed on the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ. These individuals are rarer than many entrepreneurs would like to believe, particularly for technology companies.
The skills of an entrepreneur are not necessarily consistent with the skills of a technology innovator. If you are growing a business, it’s important to build a team with complementary skills. It takes both maturity and self-awareness to understand the skills your company needs, whether those are industry skills, functional skills, or both.
As the founder of a startup company, you will need to attract and build a team. You may need to consider your first executive hire. At Apple Computer, Steven Jobs famously hired the wrong executive in John Sculley, a mistake he didn’t repeat when he returned to the company he founded. Job’s hand-picked successor, Tim Cook, possessed the supply chain skills that Apple needed to become the world-class company it is today.
If your company is experiencing challenges that your current management can’t deal with, you may need to bring in someone in who can take your company where you want to go. Many entrepreneurs choose to bring in a professional manager from a larger technology company who is willing to take an equity stake in the company in exchange for delivering results.
As an entrepreneur, you also need to think about the advisors and board members you will need to take your enterprise to the next level. This should include experienced legal counsel to craft employment contracts and agreements, including metric-based compensation, to support your company’s goals.